Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to start, kicking off with WandaVision on January 15. A total of 25 projects will officially usher in a new era for the franchise in the next few years, but details about some films like Black Panther 2 are still being kept under wraps, especially after the death of its lead star, Chadwick Boseman.
Boseman's passing last year sent shock waves in the entertainment industry, and it was not an easy pill to swallow for everyone. Marvel Studios paid tribute in a multitude of ways such as changing the Marvel Studios logo opening sequence to honor Boseman and several MCU stars joining together to send heartfelt messages to the T'Challa actor.
During Disney Investor Day, Marvel Studios CCO Kevin Feige took it a step further by confirming that they won't recast Boseman as T'Challa for Black Panther 2, honoring the legacy of the actor's iconic on-screen portrayal. Now Feige opened up about the studio's decision once again in an interview.
While speaking with Deadline, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained how the MCU will handle the upcoming narrative of Black Panther 2 following Chadwick Boseman's passing. Feige pointed out that a good chunk of the comics and the first Black Panther film relied heavily on Wakanda, admitting that it is “a place to further explore with characters and different subcultures.”
On top of that, Feige assured fans that they are not going to have a “CG Chadwick” while also confirming (once again) that they are not recasting T'Challa for the sequel.
"So much of the comics and that first movie is the world of Wakanda. Wakanda is a place to further explore with characters and different subcultures. This was always and initially the primary focus of the next story. We’re not going to have a CG Chadwick and we’re not recasting T’Challa. Ryan Coogler is working very hard right now on the script with all the respect and love and genius that he has, which gives us great solace, so it was always about furthering the mythology and the inspiration of Wakanda. There’s also the task of honoring and respecting the ongoing learnings and teachings from Chad as well."
WHAT THIS MEANS
Based on this reveal, it's safe to say that Marvel Studios is handling the situation very well. Fans rejoiced when it was revealed that the studio will not recast the T'Challa role for the sequel, meaning that they are on board with the whole strategy.
Placing the focus on Wakanda makes narrative sense since the location itself presents exciting story opportunities. In MCU canon, Wakanda has yet to be explored thoroughly, and it will be interesting to uncover more secrets that lie within the aforementioned country.
A glimpse of the different tribes of Wakanda was shown during Black Panther, and briefly in Avengers: Infinity War. Based on what's been unveiled thus far, not much is known about the dynamic of the tribes in the secluded country, making it all the more exciting to explore with the audience.
For example, a conflict could potentially arise due to T'Challa's sudden disappearance (or even on-screen death) which will definitely lead to disagreement between the tribes. This is where Shuri, Okoye, and even M'Baku could come into play, and these characters may end up being the focal point of the narrative, ultimately leading to the resolution of naming T'Challa's successor as Black Panther of Wakanda.
Whatever the case, Black Panther 2 is in the safe hands of Marvel Studios and Ryan Coogler, and their combined efforts will no doubt create a compelling story to honor Boseman and propel the franchise in surprising ways moving forward.